Christmas just came last Monday and the start of another year is fast approaching. For Filipinos like my wife and I, it’s like the longest season of the year.
As soon as what we call the “Ber” months starts (September, October, November, December), we start counting the days before Christmas. Buildings and houses are decorated with dazzling lights and colorful lanterns; various parties are being organized and; sumptuous feasts are being prepared at every place where it is being celebrated. Gifts are also being given and like the usual, my wife and I received only few clothes given by some of our relatives. Adulting huh? LOL!
Well, it doesn’t end on the 25th of December. After it, fireworks are starting to be lit on different places to celebrate the coming of another year. Indeed, it could be the most wonderful time of the year.
I would honestly say yes… and no at the same time. While it was indeed my favorite time of the year, this year’s holiday season will never be the same as before. For two different reasons: a great and a not-so-great one.
It’s already been a year since my wife and I got married. But it’s the first time that we’ll be spending the Christmas and New Year together so it’s somehow special for us. The magic of excitement is there. Lots of plans are already in our minds months back: the Christmas parties that we’ll be attending, the foods that we’ll be preparing, gifts, decorations for the place that we currently live, etc.
Surprisingly, here’s the plot twist:
There’s supposed to be the three of us spending the days of this season: attending our extended families’ holiday reunions and posing ourselves in front of the lens for our mandatory annual Christmas and New Year photo shoots. But because of what happened to our family, things were changed and some plans were cancelled. We honestly even lost our motivation to attend events involving our relatives: weddings, birthdays, and even organized reunions knowing that there are lots of things that remind us of our loss (either pregnant women or children who share the same age as our daughter).
Also, we wanted to shut ourselves off for a while from people whom instead of helping us recover from our loss, would inflict more of their toxicity on us. Those unsolicited, selfish, and unsympathetic advises. I’m honestly disappointed hearing those things especially from people we expect to understand us. I have some receipts (screenshots) yet for their sake, I decided to set them aside and to not disclose any names. Here are some their statements thrown at us upon being honest about the pain that we’re going through since day one. Non-verbatim:
- “Just move on.”
- “Are you saying you’re envious?”
- “I respect that you lost your baby. But why do you shut yourselves off from other people?”
- “Do you expect the other people to be always grieving with you?”
- “Reality check, you’re not the only people in this world”
- “What you’re doing is wrong.”
- And the list goes on…
I honestly thought that I’m done writing something about our dear Zane given that I wasn’t able to write something about her last month. But the holiday season suddenly hit me like a fast-approaching truck. I learned from reading some blogs that holidays, parties, dates, anniversaries are huge grief triggers and I was able to confirm it.
It was never my intention to write rants with my daughter’s name as a title. In fact, I’m looking forward for the day that I’ll be able to write something that says how joyful we are, some positivity, some praises to God, and the like.
Honestly, I still can’t… for now
It’s hard to fool myself… or other people that I’m already positive about it when in fact we’re still crying each time we remember her, the painful hospital days, the what-ifs, etc. I decided to not provide full details on it especially I’ve been writing about these on my previous blog posts. But I think there’s something that we realized in which all people around us needs to know:
There’s definitely a new set of “normal” for us.
I will reiterate what I said above that “our view of holidays were different from before.” Another similar but much more significant statement would be “our lives were never the same as before.” We’re trying to figure out how to adapt and overcome this new “normal” in our daily lives: the scar, the triggers, the cries, even the difficulty in interacting with people. Like what I usually say, it’s honestly easier said than done.
I think I can compare our lives now to a ceramic plate that broke but glued altogether. We know that we somehow managed to fix it. Still, the cracks and the marks will always be there.
Even visiting graves, particularly our daughter’s grave this holiday season, became a new normal for us. My wife and I visited it twice and might be going thrice this season; to think that we’re not even used to visiting our late relatives’ grave except during All Saints’ Day. Most people will never understand why except those who lost their loved ones or immediate relatives. But for those who did understood us, I’m grateful.
Up to date, we’re still broken.
Our lives were still broken. But, I know it will still be beautiful. I just can’t say now. Eventually, we can say it soon enough. Going back to the broken plates, I suddenly remember way back 2015 when Filipina actress Jodi Sta. Maria spoke to our church and opened up something about Kintsugi, a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with adhesive mixed with gold or silver. This kind of art also had a philosophy of making the ugly cracks part of its history rather than trying to hide it. Overall, the broken was in due time, turned into beauty.
Similarly, we can’t hide our scars; but God can still make it beautiful.
One more thing.
We’re not able to attend one of the two planned extended family reunion this month out of necessity to attend a friend’s wedding in Pampanga. Although on the back of our minds, we’re not really sure if we wanted to go there. Another thing was, we arrived back home at 11 PM and we need to sleep early to serve at church the next day. Thus, causing rift with some of our relatives.
But despite of much larger hesitation, much more triggers, and the like; my wife and I we’re able to make it to the other one. Albeit we’re not as happy, not as interactive, nor cooperative as before; and there are some people that were still careless on what they’re saying, I think this can be a little great improvement for us.
Well, as the year end, there are things that were beautiful and things that… were not. If there is one thing that could describe this year for us, that would be bittersweet. But I’m trying to teach ourselves that every thing will hopefully get better next year.
Belated Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Advanced Happy New Year for EVERY ONE!
Read more about the story of our Marvel Zane by clicking on these links:
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